On June 11, the Ohio Senate introduced its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 20-21 state budget bill, which included an increase in the Public Library Fund (PLF) from the current level of 1.68% to 1.7% of the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF).
“The Ohio Library Council would like to thank members of the Ohio Senate for their support and commitment to Ohio’s public libraries,” said Douglas Evans, Executive Director, Ohio Library Council. “The Senate’s budget will allow public libraries to provide the essential services that the residents of Ohio deserve and expect, regardless of zip code. It will also help to offset any unintended reductions in state funding resulting from the tax reform changes included in the proposal.”
The PLF makes up an extremely small portion of overall state expenditures (one half of one percent), but it accounts for 48 percent of the total funding for Ohio’s public libraries. In fact, 20 percent of Ohio’s public library systems rely solely on the PLF for their primary source of funding. The funds will be used to help libraries prepare for the online portion and demands of the 2020 census, stabilize older facilities, and ensure that essential services, such as access to computers and the internet, can continue to be provided to Ohioans statewide through their local libraries.
There were more than 2,000 amendments submitted for the budget (including the PLF amendments) as well as additional tax reform changes. The bill itself is 2,927 pages in length.
Legislative Services Commission Comparison Document (PDF, 663 pages)
The Senate Leadership utilized the Office of Budget and Management (OBM)’s revenue estimates in creating their budget and is expecting overall increases in state revenues. Based on their estimates, setting the PLF at 1.7% will generate the following in each year of the biennium:
- FY 20: $422.3 million
- FY 21: $430.0 million
The OLC will continue to review the other changes being proposed in the substitute bill and is scheduled to testify in the Senate Finance Committee on Thurs., June 13.